Although mock drafts tend to end up mocking their creators, I thought I would take a stab at rounds 1-4 for the Saints. Am I qualified? Probably not! But of the six mock drafts I follow, each one picked a different player for the Saints at #12. With that much inconsistency, I can’t be too far off.
The leading names in contention are Laquon Treadwell (WR/Mississippi), Sheldon Rankins (DT/Louisville); Kevin Dodd (DE/Clemson); A’Shawn Robinson (DT/Alabama); and Noah Spence (DE/Eastern Kentucky). Maurice Jones-Drew picked Joey Bosa (DE/Ohio State) on NFL.com. Since most experts have him going #4 to the Cowboys that pick seems a little far-fetched.
Round 1 – My preference would be DT Sheldon Rankins who was ranked no lower than 16th in the mock drafts I used for comparison. We know the Saints need an edge rusher, but they allowed 4.9 yds/carry and 2,000+ yards on the ground last season. Their leading interior lineman had 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery and .5 sacks. Defensive tackle is definitely a need position.
Rankins has great quickness and athleticism and could play more than one position. He played in both 3-4 and 4-3 defenses at Louisville and inside and out. He has good hands, stays low and can flow along the line to make plays on the outside. Speed and a decent spin move will make the pressure up the middle possible for a defense that needs more quarterback hurries and sacks.
Round 2 – If Shilique Calhoun (DE/MLB – Michigan) is available I like him at this spot. He showed similar physical skills as Joey Bosa in the combine:
Drill Calhoun Bosa
40-yd Dash 4.64 4.86
Bench 23 reps 24 reps
3-cone 6.97 6.89
Vertical 35” 32”
Calhoun is not as well-known as Bosa, but he is quick and powerful. He ran linebacking drills as well as D-line drills on his pro day and showed good mobility. If Calhoun is not available, I could see the Saints taking Yannick Ngokoue (OLB/Maryland) who they brought in for a workout.
Round 3 – Most have the Saints taking a LB and probably Nick Vigil (Utah State) will be the best left on the board. However, if they get a shot at Deion Jones of LSU the Who Dat nation would be happy. If Charles Tapper (DE/Oklahoma) is still around I would love to see the Saints go after him. He ran the fastest 40 at the combine of all DE’s and scored well in most of the other areas.
Round 4 – I am sure the Saints won’t go four rounds and not pick an offensive player so I would love to see them take a flyer on another young quarterback. Either Brandon Allen (Arkansas) and Cardale Jones (Ohio State) will still be on the board here. I can see the Saints taking one of these as a potential replacement for Drew Brees down the road.
Although mock drafts change constantly and never really get any round exactly right, here’s hoping a few of my choices happen and then actually translate to success on the field next fall.